TWIST Book Review
We here at the Just-Us League love our urban paranormal stories and supporting Indie writers, so The Faceless series by Australian author Rikkaine Thompson is a perfect match. Twist is the second book in The Faceless series, a YA urban fantasy series about an aspiring animation student swept up in a secret shapeshifter war.
Shift knocks Alyson, the heroine, into a whirlwind of emotions when her best friend Fletcher dies in a motorcycle accident. Fletcher, a shapeshifter, returns from the dead when a mysterious organization kidnaps Aly.
Twist picks up right where Shift left off. Unable to leave Aly defenseless, Noah and Aly go on the run in Northern California. Swallowed by the lies, her friends search for the truth behind Fletcher’s death when a reporter mentions that Fletcher may have been murdered. Mysterious secret agents turn characters against one another as they search for Aly.
Ms. Thompson leaves behind secret winks and nods to her online writing and delves deeper into the worldbuilding. The alternating POV shifts between Alyson and Noah (Fletcher) from Shift is discarded in favor of focusing on Alyson’s family and friends, who search for her as she goes missing for a second time. Although the action doesn’t pick up until halfway through the novel, Ms. Thompson focuses on the strength of her character development, especially between family and friends. She explores the minuscule details of Aly’s relationships: high school graduation and pool parties with friends. The struggles of young adulthood, and the uncertainty of growing up. These qualities, which made Ms. Thompson’s earlier works glow, ignite the Faceless world.
A Shapeshifting Romance
Twist focuses on the romance between Aly and Noah, with faint echoes of Bella and Edward from the Twilight series. As a shapeshifter Noah’s physical form is that of a teenager with an unknown physical age. This trope, while cringeworthy in the Twilight series at times, is subverted. Noah’s sexuality continues the LBQT themes from Shift and plays into the relationship. His asexual preferences clash with Aly’s desire for a romantic relationship, and for intimacy Noah can’t always give. Conversely, Noah struggles to give Aly the intimacy she desires. Their romance isn’t a sidequest–their relationship is key to the story, and for understanding the greater worldbuilding. For in this world of uncertainty, where underground wars disrupt animation school and tear apart families, the only certain thing they have is each other.
The Faceless series promises more to come, and I look forward to Book 3!